Week 202: Bee Rock—Griffith Park

March 01, 2020

Hike Griffith Park & Hollywood Hills—Fern Canyon, Old Zoo, Bee Rock Trails, 2 miles

Thundershowers were forecast but the weatherman promised they would come later, so Barbara and I were confident our morning hike to Bee Rock, a unique high point at the eastern side of Griffith Park, would be dry. We set out under cloudy blue skies up the Fern Canyon Trail off the Crystal Springs Drive merry-go-round parking lot with plenty of hikers (human and canine) for company. Around a turn, we had our first sighting of Bee Rock—a "massive outcropping of sandstone...thrusting up from the hills overlooking the metropolis" with a chain link fence at the peak, protecting the curious from the steep drop-off on all four sides. Exciting! Fern Canyon Nature Trail led us to the Old Zoo, according to Urbanist, one of the "Most Amazing Urban Abandonments." From 1912 to 1966, more than two million visitors per year visited bears, lions, monkeys, elephants, penguins, camels, and more, housed in tight grottos and enclosures, many built by the WPA in the '30s. The old zoo closed when the new L.A. Zoo opened in 1966, 2-miles north, with zoologically advanced quarters. As Barbara and I continued our quest for Bee Rock Trail, the first rain drop hit at a crossroads. We were a mile in, the path to Bee Rock was a straight up ascent on unfamiliar turf—and we decided to call a rainout rather than risk getting soaked on a slippery slope. To paraphrase Casey Stengel, "There are three things you can do [on a hike]: you can win, you can get lost, or you can call it a rainout." We shall return to conquer the Bee.

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